Yesterday was a perfect reminder of why I live in San Diego. We are blessed with a climate that allows us to grow food year round here. And every year Celebrate the Craft at the Lodge at Torrey Pines brings together the region’s best farmers and chefs to showcase our culinary splendors. What I really love about this event, however, is the way that restaurants and farms are paired together. Next to a farmer with a gorgeous display of fruits and vegetables is a chef handing you a plate of that same produce, deliciously prepared.
It was hard to know where to start. I walked around from table to table admiring the bounty. The bright sun intensified the already-colorful fruits and vegetables. The smell of grilled tuna and duck confit wafted across the lawn. I wanted to eat, but as at the farmers’ market, I got distracted talking to old friends, asking questions, and taking photographs.
For me, Region is the restaurant that best exemplifies what San Diego cuisine is all about. Here Chef Allyson Colwell prepares plates of grilled bread and Crows Pass Farm onions waiting to be topped with grilled tuna.
Barry Logan of La Milpa Organica (below left) teamed up with Chef Amiko Gubbins of Parallel 33.
Bright lemon soufflés, from Arterra pastry chef James Foran, were paired with Wicked Wilds’ Ranchita-grown strawberries. Wicked Wilds, a brand-new, certified organic farm, grows mainly strawberries for restaurants, but plans on expanding to mache and arugula in the coming months.
I couldn't help but notice Alex Weiser, wearing the large butternut squash around his neck. He introduced me to his dad, Sid (left), and Chef Antonio Friscia who was serving up some of the other Weiser's Family Farms vegetables. Friscia will head the kitchen of a new restaurant and nightclub, Stingaree, set to open mid-November at Sixth and Island Street downtown.
And what’s good cheese without good bread? Bread & Cie owner Charles Kaufman (center) shown here with some of his crew, reminded me that his bakery will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. I can’t believe it. My kids, who were babies at the time the bakery opened, were practically weaned on Bread & Cie levain. I went there nearly every morning, grateful to have finally found a source of fresh-baked, European-style artisanal bread. Now you can find Bread & Cie in nearly every grocery store and restaurant in town. Happy Anniversary!